In this paper, we present the architecture of a new generation musical sound synthesis machine. The machine is the first of its kind, combining state of the art ideas from multiprocessing and VLSI design in a system that produces sound in realtime by simulating the physical behavior of musical instruments. The machine will be compact, inexpensive, and easily scalable offering much higher performance per unit board area than would be possible using commercially available processors.

Previous generation machines, such as the Caltech UPEs mainly addressed the arithmetic computation needs of instrument simulation. The insights gained with these systems demonstrate the feasibility of the approach but also clearly indicate that single chip systems cannot offer sufficient performance to simulate ensembles of instruments. To overcome this problem the MIMIC system includes a special purpose network managed by an on-chip unit.

Our machine relies heavily on the use of memory, both within our custom processing chips and in commercial memory chips giving rise to the name Memory Intensive Music Integrated Circuit (MIMIC).




Download Full History